Search in blog

[e-mail us]

The Sixth
La Sexta
Las Voces de La Otra Campaña
Ke Huelga
del rompecabezas
de la otra

Audios y textos por estado
visor hibrido de noticias
La Otra en La Jornada

Immigrant Solidarity Network
School Walkouts info
Detention Watch Network
Immigrant Rights @
NO HR4437 Network
Immigrant @ indybay
Migración @ La Jornada (México)
Los Angeles
Mujerez de Maiz
East Side Cafe
South Central Farmers
Casa del pueblo
Cop Watch
La Otra Orange County
La Otra en el Otro Lado
Estación Libre
Con Safos
Informate, Organiza, y Lucha
San Diego / Tijuana / Ensenada / Cucapás
Telesecundaria Cucapá (El Mayor)
La Otra Tijuana
La Otra Ensenada
Las Otra San Diego
Organic Collective
San Francisco
Chiapas Support Committee
Radio Zapatista
Caracol de la misión
Nueva York
Movimiento por la Justicia en el Barrio Notas en detod@s-paratod@s
Encuentro Gathering
Salón Chingón
La Otra Chicago
Otros en EE.UU.
Others in the US
El Kilombo Intergalactico
(Durham, North Carolina)
(Washington DC)
Chiapas 95
Accion Zapatista
Mexico Solidarity Network
Red de Solidaridad con México
Community to Community
(Bellingham, WA)
enlace zapatista
My Word is my Weapon
La Sexta
Palabra Zapatista
Centro de documentación sobre zapatismo
La Jornada
sin fronteras
The Sixth
Encuentro (NY)
Zapatistas in Cyberspace

Enlace Zapatista

La Jornada > Cobertura de "La otra campaña"

Nodos Comunes

.. Caosmosis ..

Rage One (blog)

domingo, agosto 20, 2006

Mexico Week In Review: 08.14-08.20


Mexico Week In Review: 08.14-08.20

Published since 1994, 'Mexico Week In Review' is a service of the
Committee of Indigenous Solidarity (CIS). CIS is a Washington, D.C.
based activist group committed to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous
peoples in the Americas. CIS is actively supporting the struggles
of the Indigenous peoples of Mexico while simultaneously combating
related structures of oppression within our own communities.

To view newsletter archives, visit:

"Para Todos, Todo; Para Nosotros Nada"


Mexico's top electoral court rejected complaints about the July
Congressional election giving conservative candidate Felipe
Calderon's party the largest stake in the legislature. The electoral
judges must declare a president elect by September 6 at the latest.

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lost the July 2 presidential vote
by a hair and his Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, has
challenged the result, alleging fraud. His party had also contested
some of the results of the Congressional election. Calderon's ruling
National Action Party will have 52 seats in the Senate, more than
other parties but still short of a majority, the electoral court
said. The Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for
most of the 20th century, will have 33 seats in the Senate, and Lopez
Obrador's PRD will have 28 seats. The PAN will have 206 seats in the
lower house, with 123 controlled by Lopez Obrador's PRD and 105 held
by the PRI.

Source: Reuters: 08/16


Mexican riot police fired tear gas and used clubs to break up a
protest by supporters of left-wing presidential challenger Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador. Leftist lawmakers were among at least 30 people
injured in the scuffles outside Congress in Mexico City. Mr. Lopez
Obrador's supporters have been camped out in protest at the 2 July
election they say was stolen by conservative rival Felipe Calderon.
This is the first time the authorities have used force on the

Mr. Lopez Obrador later told his supporters that the events showed
the authorities are "taking off their masks and putting aside their
talk of supposed legality and respect". Mr. Lopez Obrador lost the
election by 240,000 votes. He alleged fraud, and has since led a mass
civil disobedience campaign to demand a full recount. A court-imposed
recount of votes from 9% of polling centers has been completed but
the result has not yet been announced. Mr. Calderon told a news
conference he was confident the recount would confirm his victory,
and called on Mr. Lopez Obrador to "reconsider his attitude".

Violence broke out as left-wing protesters tried to set up a camp
outside Congress ahead of the outgoing President Vicente Fox's last
state-of-the-nation address on 1 September. Stones were thrown at
lines of police who fired back with tear gas. "They hit us all, they
fired gas at us. I still haven't recovered from the tear gas," Elias
Moreno of Mr. Lopez Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution
(PRD) said. The federal police said they had followed guidelines but
that the protesters had been blocking access to Congress. They called
on the protesters to "demonstrate within the bounds of the law".

Source: BBC: 08/15


A judge has imposed long prison terms on 50 indigenous defendants
convicted of carrying out one of the most heinous crimes in past
decades - the 1997 butchering of 45 other indigenous people, mostly
women and children, as they prayed in a southern hamlet. Despite the
sentences announced Thursday, the motive for the slaughter and its
possible instigation by erstwhile authorities remain shrouded. The
Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center reported the 25-year
terms handed down Thursday to the 50 defendants. But it lamented that
Judge Jose Luis Martinez failed to "contemplate the responsibility of
the Mexican state" or the question of reparations for people who lost
loved ones in the massacre at Acteal, a village in the conflictive
state of Chiapas.

The judge, explaining why he did not impose even longer terms
permitted by the penal code, noted "the minimal degree of guilt of
the accused, due to the backwardness of their social development,
their poverty, their scant education, their ignorance and the degree
of fanaticism they display regarding politics as well as religion and
social matters." Martinez went on to cite evidence that "the victims'
bodies were abused even after they were dead, as they were not only
executed, they were also stoned, with crushing of skulls; finished
off with coups de grace; cut up and stripped."

On Dec. 22, 1997, a contingent of men toting assault rifles killed 45
unarmed indigenous people - including 21 women and 15 children -
praying inside a chapel in Acteal. The victims were members of a
grassroots Roman Catholic organization known as Las Abejas (The
Bees), which despite being pacifist supported the leftist and
indigenous-rights goals of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation,
whose January 1994 uprising brought national and international
attention to the remote, mountainous state of Chiapas. After about a
week of minor clashes with police and troops, the Zapatistas began
their transformation into a grassroots political and civic movement
that came to be more or less tolerated by the government in isolated,
mostly indigenous areas of the impoverished state bordering Guatemala.

But even as the Zapatistas largely abandoned armed struggle, those
who felt threatened by the indigenous-rights movement created
paramilitary groups, the largest being a faction called Peace and
Justice, that ruthlessly drove more than 12,000 indigenous people out
of their communities in Chiapas between 1995 and 2000. In fact, the
victims at Acteal were themselves internal refugees, forced from
their homes elsewhere in the state.

Rights organizations said the massacre resulted from acts of both
commission and omission by allies of the man who was governor of
Chiapas at the time, Julio Cesar Ruiz Ferro of the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI). "Compelling evidence," Amnesty
International said in a 1998 statement on the Acteal bloodbath,
"shows that the authorities facilitated the arming of paramilitaries
who carried out the killings and failed to intervene as the savage
attack continued for hours." The Inter-American Human Rights
Commission, while acknowledging a lack of information that would
establish "the direct participation" of security forces in the
episode, pointed to official data indicating the involvement of state
agents before the slayings and in the subsequent cover-up. "In fact,
the inquiries conducted by the Office of the (Mexican) Attorney
General clearly show that public security forces not only tolerated,
but encouraged the illicit trafficking in weapons to the benefit of
groups supporting the authorities in office," said the commission, a
body of the Organization of American States.

An article in the Human Rights Brief, a publication of the Center for
Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Washington College of Law in the
U.S. capital, said the Peace and Justice vigilantes received a grant
o US$575,000 from Chiapas Gov. Ruiz Ferro a few weeks before the
massacre in Acteal. That piece also cited a 1998 statement by
then-Interior Secretary Francisco Labastida to the effect that
decommissioned Army officers had provided training to paramilitary

Source: El Universal: 08/12


During the term of Vicente Fox, the Mexican government has not
complied with recommendations of the UN to instate constitutional
reforms on the rights of indigenous peoples, as mandated under the
San Andres Accords, decried the Special Rapporteur on the situation
of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples,
Rodolfo Stavenhagen. At the start of an international seminar on this
theme and in the context of the International Day of Indigenous
Peoples, the UN functionary said that the Fox administration's
omission "will have consequences that could generate conflictive
situations." Stavenhagen said the government does not want to re-open
the debate, despite the fact that at the beginning of his term, Fox
said: "this reform does not satisfy me", but later said it was the
best that could be obtained. "Later, there was a letter by 100
deputies [elected representatives] asking the House to re-open the
debate, but this was not done because the party leaders didn't want
it," he said.

[Stavenhagen] recalled that "12 years ago, the Zapatista National
Liberation Army launched an indigenous political movement in our
country...which finally resulted, after negotiations with the
previous government, in the San Andres Accords; but from there the
constitutional reform was truncated in 2001, which satisfied nobody;
conflicts continue because there is still much injustice." He
recognized that there have been advances: "20 years ago, nobody spoke
of the rights of indigenous peoples; today it is one of the central
themes. It is a critical matter for the UN. But even if they manage
to impose peace in Lebanon, a world without a Universal Declaration
of Indigenous Peoples will be a world much more anarchic, chaotic and
dangerous than the world which actually exists."

For his part, Amerigo Incalcaterra, Mexico's representative to the
UN's high commission in this matter, said that since 2003, the
government of Vicente Fox has complied with UN recommendations,
including to "loan more attention to the protection and promotion of
guarantees to the original peoples." He cited efforts to consult with
communities on the constitutional reform, and to strengthen respect
for the rights of indigenous peoples to access to lands, territories
and natural resources..."

Note strategic use of the term "access to lands, territories and
natural resources," as opposed to "control over lands, territories
and natural resources" - the sticking point of the San Andres Accords.

Source: La Jornada: 08/10


As of June 1, approximately 55,000 Huastec, Pame and Tének indigenous
groups from San Luis Potosí will be able to benefit from the Law of
Administration of Indigenous and Community Justice, the first of its
kind in Mexico. During the ceremony for the presentation of the law,
President Vicente Fox stated that no one should fear the recognition
of indigenous rights, while Xóchitl Gálvez declared in an interview
that the efforts of Subcomandante Marcos are reflected in the new law.

In the words of the Commissioner for Indigenous Peoples, the law
permits "the true exercise of the autonomy of communities by
acknowledging the full value of the determinations of their
traditional authorities." "Like any other citizen," she explained,
indigenous people will be able to submit denunciations to legal
organizations and be entitled to respect for their cultural
diversity, bearing in mind their habits and customs, with the support
of an interpreter and a defense attorney familiar with their language
and culture. She hailed the fact that, "Recognition of the
application of normative systems in the regulation and solution of
conflicts within their communities is extremely important, because it
accepts the validity and effectiveness of the application of their
habits and customs."

The law will grant full validity to the determinations of indigenous
authorities and no external institution will be able to intervene in
the decisions made. Gálvez considered that the law "is the reflection
of what was discussed in the San Andrés Larráinzar Agreements: the
recognition of other forms of administering justice."

During her speech, María Elena Sánchez Guzmán, president of the
Supreme Court of Justice in San Luis Potosí, explained that the
advantage of the law is that indigenous peoples and communities will
be subjects of public law with legal status, autonomy, authorities
and normative systems.

"The determinations of the indigenous authorities," she pointed out,
"will be able to be reviewed and confirmed or otherwise by the state
courts through a simple, summary system when the plaintiffs allege
violations of individual guarantees or human rights." Among other
propositions, the new law:

- Acknowledges the existence and validity of indigenous justice,
known as habits and customs.

- Grants auxiliary judges jurisdiction and authority.

- Will guarantee training and supervision by the state Supreme Court
of Justice.

- Ensures that the application of justice will be devoid of formality
and brief.

Source: Reforma: 08/10


A man suspected of participating in the rapes and killings of at
least 10 women in a border city made infamous by the deaths of more
than 100 young women since 1993 has been arrested, U.S. officials
U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza called the arrest of Edgar Alvarez Cruz on
immigration violations in Denver, Colorado "a major break" in the
investigation into the unsolved deaths in Ciudad Juarez, across from
El Paso, Texas. "We believe Alvarez Cruz's arrest will help U.S. and
Mexican law enforcement authorities solve numerous cases involving
the murders and disappearances of women in Ciudad Juarez and in
Chihuahua and ultimately bring their killers to justice," Garza said.

Garza said the U.S. Marshals Service was assisting Mexican
authorities with the investigations into the killings of the women in
Ciudad Juarez and other parts of the border state of Chihuahua. Most
of the victims were dumped in the desert outside of Ciudad Juarez,
provoking outrage that reached around the world. Many of the victims
have been young women last seen in the city's downtown or after
taking buses. Their bodies often didn't appear until months later.

Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca told reporters Alvarez Cruz
had been under investigation but fled the country. "We don't know
exactly how many homicides he may have been responsible for, but
there is solid evidence in several cases we know of," Cabeza de Vaca
said. The U.S. Embassy said Alvarez Cruz may have been involved in
the killings as part of a gang. Just last month, federal officials in
Mexico closed a three-year inquiry into the rape-strangulation of 14
women and teenagers in Juarez.

Source: Associated Press: 08/18


Mexico's collage (COLMEX) reported that poverty has spread
dramatically in urban areas of the country over the past six years,
although government authorities say otherwise. COLMEX researcher
Araceli Damian said that from 2000 to 2004, poverty increased in the
big cities as a consequence of the country's faulty economic model.
The expert commented that urban poverty increased from 74.6 to 77.3
percent, and acknowledged that the situation has also worsened in the

A World Bank report says that 50 percent of Mexicans are poor, adding
that some government programs to fight poverty do not benefit the
neediest. According to a report entitled "Redistribution of Income to
the Poor and Rich: Public Transferences in Latin America and the
Caribbean", the government's expenditures in social protection is
about 3.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, a "low" amount
compared to the country's development.

Source: Prensa Latina (Havana): 08/18


United States Justice Department officials said that they had
severely crippled a leading Mexican drug gang with the arrest of
Tijuana cartel head Francisco Javier Arellano Felix. Arellano Felix,
who had a five-million-dollar reward on his head, was arrested early
on Monday (08/14) by the US Coast Guard aboard a fishing boat in
international waters off the Mexican coast, Deputy Attorney General
Paul McNulty said. He was arrested with 10 others, including three
juveniles, who were also on the US-registered fishing vessel.

"Javier was one of the most ruthless thugs that was involved in drug
trafficking around the world," said Michael Braun, chief of
operations of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. "We feel like
we've taken the head off the snake here." McNulty said the United
States had received a tip that Arellano Felix was aboard the boat and
sent the Coast Guard to interdict it. They found Arellano Felix on
board traveling under an alias. He also credited Arellano Felix's
capture to "extraordinary co-ordination and co-operation" between
Mexico and the United States. "The Arellano Felix organization is one
of the largest drug trafficking organizations operating in the
Tijuana, California-Mexico area," he said.

Braun said that for over a decade the violent gang has dominated the
Mexican drug trade and flooded the United States with "hundreds of
tons of a variety of drugs, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and
heroin, to name a few". Known as "El Tigrillo", or the little tiger,
Arellano Felix was involved in the 1993 assassination of Roman
Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo at the Guadalajara
airport, according to Mexican authorities. He allegedly took the
leadership of the gang after the arrest in 2003 of his brother
Benjamin and the death of another brother, Ramon. Braun said those
changes weakened the group. "Today, we got this brutal organization
in a choke-hold and we're not letting up." "They are extremely
vulnerable right now," Braun said, while admitting that another drug
syndicate was certain to fill the gap left by the weakened Arellano
Felix cartel.

A US indictment for 11 top members of the group unveiled in July 2003
charged them with racketeering, conspiracy to import and distribute
cocaine and marijuana, and with money laundering. Shortly afterwards
the US State Department announced a reward of five million dollars
for Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, and the same amount for his
brother Eduardo, who remains at large. Braun said he did not know yet
if anyone would receive the reward for Francisco Javier Arellano
Felix's capture.

Some Mexicans played down the arrest. "He is not the head of the
cartel, he is a cocaine-using playboy who only thinks about having a
good time," said Jesus Blancornelas, the owner of the Tijuana
magazine Zeta. "He lives in the United States and often travels to
Brazil and Hawaii," Blancornelas said. The 2003 indictment says the
Tijuana operation received multi-tonne shipments of cocaine by sea
and air from other traffickers, including Colombia's rebel
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and then arranged to
smuggle the drugs into the United States, according to McNulty. It
also says the group "recruited, trained and armed groups of
bodyguards and assassins responsible for protecting the leaders of
the organization and for conducting assassinations of rival drug
traffickers". The charges could bring up to life in prison and
forfeiture of nearly $300-million, McNulty said.

Source: Sapa-AFP: 08/16


Greg Palast

In the six years since I first began investigating the burglary ring
we call "elections" in America, a new voting reform industry has
grown up. That's good. What's worrisome is that most of the effort is
focused on preventing the installation of computer voting machines.
Paper ballots, we're told, will save our democracy. Well, forget it.
Over the weekend, Mexico's ruling party showed how you can rustle an
election even with the entire population using the world's easiest
paper ballot.

On Saturday, Mexico's electoral tribunal, known as the "Trife" (say
"tree-fay") ordered a re-count of the ballots from the suspect July 2
vote for president. Well, not quite a recount as in "count all the
ballots" - but a review of just 9% of the nation's 130,000 precincts.
The "9% solution" was the Trife's ham-fisted attempt to chill out the
several hundred thousand protesting supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez
Obrador who had gathered in the capital and blocked its main Avenue.
Lopez Obrador, the leftist challenger known by his initials AMLO,
supposedly lost the presidential vote by just one half of one percent
of the vote.

I say "supposedly" lost because, while George Bush congratulated his
buddy Felipe Calderon on his victory, the evidence I saw on the
ground in Mexico City fairly shrieks that the real winner was
challenger AMLO.
President Bush should consider some inconvenient truths about the
Mexican vote count:

First: The exit poll of 80,000 voters by the Instituto de
Mercadotecnia y Opinio'n showed that AMLO bested Calderon by 35.1% to

Second: The precinct-by-precinct returns were quite otherworldly. I
used to teach statistics and what I saw in Mexico would have stumped
my brightest students.

Here's the conundrum: The nation's tens of thousands of polling
stations report to the capital in random order after the polls close.
Therefore, statistically, you'd expect the results to remain roughly
unchanged as vote totals come in. As expected, AMLO was ahead of the
right-wing candidate Calderon all night by an unchanging margin -
until after midnight. Suddenly, precincts began reporting wins for
Calderon of five to one, then ten to one, then as polling nearly
ended, of a hundred to one. How odd. I checked my concerns with
Victor Romero, a professor at Mexico's National University, who
concluded that the reported results must have been a "miracle". As he
put it, a "religious event" but a statistical impossibility. There
were two explanations, said the professor: either the Lord was fixing
the outcome, or operatives of the ruling party were cranking in a
massive number of ballots when they realized their man was about to

How could they do it? "Easy peasy," as my kids would say. In Mexico,
the choices for president are on their own ballot with no other
offices listed. Those who don't want to vote for the president just
discard the ballot. There is no real ballot security. In areas
without reliable opposition observers (about a third of the nation),
anyone can stuff ballots into the loosely-guarded cardboard boxes.
(AMLO showed a tape of one of these ballot-stuffing operations caught
in the act.) It's also absurdly easy to remove paper ballots,
disqualify them or simply mark them "nulo" ("null," unreadable). The
Trife, the official electoral centurions, rejected AMLO's request to
review those precincts that reported the miracle numbers. Nor would
the tribunal open and count the nearly one million "null" votes -
allegedly "uncountable" votes which totaled four times Calderon's
putative plurality.

Mexico's paper ballot, I would note, is the model of clarity - with
large images of each party which need only be crossed through. The
ruling party would have us believe that a million voters waited in
line, took a ballot, made no mark, then deliberately folded the
ballot and placed it in the ballot box, pretending they'd voted.
Maybe, as in Florida in 2000, those "unreadable" ballots were quite
readable. Indeed, the few boxes re-counted showed the "null" ballots
marked for AMLO. The Tribunal chose to check no further. The only
precincts the Trife ordered re-counted are those where the tally
sheets literally don't tally - precincts in which the arithmetic is
off. They refuse even to investigate those precincts where ballot
boxes were found in city dumps. There are other "miracles" which the
Trife chose to ignore: a weirdly low turnout of only 44% in the state
where Lopez Obrador is most popular, Guerrero (Acapulco), compared to
turnouts of over 60% elsewhere. The votes didn't vanish, the ruling
party explained, rather the challenger's supporters, confident of
victory, did not bother to vote. Confident ... in Mexico? In other
words, despite the right to paper ballots, the election was fiddled,
finagled and fixed.

Does this mean US activists should give up on the fight for paper
ballots and give in to robo-voting, computerized democracy in a box?
Hell, no! Lopez Obrador has put hundreds of thousands in the street
week after week demanding, "vota por vota" - recount every vote. But
AMLO's supporters can only demand a re-count because the paper ballot
makes a recount possible. Were Mexico's elections held on a Diebold
special, there would be no way to recount the electrons floating in
cyberspace. Paper ballots make democracy possible, but hardly
guarantee it. "Null" votes, not voters, have chosen Mexico's
president. The only other nation I know of with such a poisonously
high percentage of "null" votes is the "Estados Unidos", the USA.

And just as in Mexico, the "null" vote, the trashed, spoiled,
rejected ballots, overrode the voters' choice, so it was north of the
Rio Grande in 2000 and 2004. Ballot spoilage, not computer
manipulation, stole Ohio and Florida in those elections - and will
steal Colorado and New Mexico in the 2008 election. In other words,
my fellow gringo activists, we'd better stop fixating on laptop
legerdemain and pledge our lives and fortunes to stopping the games
played with registration rolls, provisional ballots, absentee
ballots, voter ID demands and the less glamorous, yet horribly
effective, methods used to suppress, invalidate and otherwise ambush
the vote.


The above articles were originally published and copyrighted by the
listed sources. These articles are offered for educational purposes
which CIS maintains is 'fair use' of copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

end: Mexico Week In Review: 08.14-08.20

Printer friendly
Version para Imprimir

From Spanish:

Del inglés: